Friday, 22 January 2010

French

Oh dear, I really don't speak French at all. The tap in my bathroom has been dripping for ages and eventually I got my act together enough to email my landlord about it.
About a week later, the landlord's wife comes round with a handyman (they call each other 'tu', so I assume he's a relative or something).

All finished, they ask me for a 'torchon' and I, who learnt to speak French in France, handed over a tea towel.

Confusion and amusement.

- No, no, don't you have a mop or something? For the floor?

Oh dear, I really don't speak French at all. As French wikipedia points out, a 'torchon' is a mop in Belgium. Why can't they all just agree on these things?!

9 comments:

Simon said...

Huh - I also would have handed over a tea towel :) (We speak French French, not Belgian French.)

Let's not forget the US/UK divide in English though which has far more room for embarrassment in the different meanings of the same words.

I'm in Paris next week if you fancy popping over some time (any time Wednesday to Saturday) - back to RSA/Lesotho Sat night.

My UK phone would work...

Lilacspecs said...

Don't stress, it's not just French. It's Dutch too, except often here there are not just French French vs. Belgian French. It's more like West Flemish vs. East Flemish vs. Holland Dutch. And we won't even get into Frisian, which is sort of a Dutch/Danish combo.

pinolona said...

Absolutely, the French would say that we're the ones who are speaking it properly! To be fair, the Italians are much, much worse, but at least they seem to more or less understand each other (maybe due to universality of Italian hand gestures?)

re Paris, I'd really love to, but I'm off to Poland next week for [cheap beer and pierogi] professional development reasons, leaving Tuesday :( I'm about to start a new job (well sort of) some time in the next month or so hopefully so I thought I'd better go now while I still can...

When are you next likely to be around in the France sort of area??

pinolona said...

Frisian, isn't that a type of dairy cow?!

Amélie said...

I would also have fetch a tea towel. I didn't even now about this double meaning ^^ Any other examples?

Sorry Simon, I won't be able to go to Paris next week :( When will you and Flic come back?

Bisous

pinolona said...

Amelie, oh there are lots of other examples... will try and collect some.
I definitely will be back in Paris, just not this month :)

lilacspecs, my friend in Antwerp (http://katyshomeontheroad.blogspot.com/) told me that the reason they have subtitles on the Flemish channels is because Flemish dialects are not necessarily mutually comprehensible! That's crazy!

Island1 said...

Bring thick socks. Also thick everything else. It's arsing cold over here.

pinolona said...

So I heard. Krakow in January: whatever possessed me?!

peixote said...

So, where`s that friggin` bikini wax post we wus promised?